checklist

Safety Checklist

Recently a client admitted to falling back into an old undesirable habit. Ashley had once again become a tyrant at home. She was obsessed with the cleanliness of her house. She worried about getting things done on time. She stopped interacting with her family. The only time she spoke to them was when she was barking out an order or reprimanding when something was not done correctly or on time. Ashley was obsessed with her to-do list. She was frantic to complete each item. She was becoming very stressed by all she wanted to complete.

checklistThe first thing I told her was, “Congratulations.” The fact that she caught herself falling into this behavior was wonderful progress in her development. In the past, she would have acted this way and not consciously realized she was bringing the stress on herself and her family. Becoming aware of our behavior is the powerful first step to changing the undesirable behavior.

Then we dove into the “why.” Why did she take this behavior back on? Why did she think she had to act this way?

We talked about what was happening in her life. Unexpected expenses were affecting their finances. An accident made her question her ability as a mother, and therefore her self-worth. As we explored the stressors in her life, we discovered that focusing on her to-do list made her feel in control and safe. She wanted control over her life. She didn’t have control over the unexpected expenses or accident, so she sought control over tasks. Ashley wanted to protect herself from pain, uncertainty, and lack. She thought she could use “doing” to protect herself and gain control.

As we talked, Ashley realized that her attempts to control through “doing” did not make her feel safe. Instead, she felt more stressed through the overwhelming list of to-do’s.  With this realization, she was then able to let go of the pressure of her list. She was able to rejoin her family by focusing on the experience of life instead of tasks. As Ashley released her “doing,” she also bravely allowed herself to feel the fear, pain, and anxiety of her current issues. Instead of blocking these feelings through tasks, she faced them. And in facing them, she felt a sense of calm security.

When do you reach for your to-do list? What are you trying to hide from? What are you trying to protect yourself from? Is it really working? Are you ready to be brave enough to face your fears?

from type a to type me: how to stop doing life and start living it

What Have You Lost in Constantly “Doing”?

In our fast-paced, multi-tasking, on-the-go-deadline driven work, we are often caught up in the act of “Doing.” We move from task to task on our to-do list. We rush from work to class to home. We keep pushing ourselves to do more and do it better.

from type a to type me: how to stop doing life and start living itBut what is the cost?

Do you have hobbies? Do you have passions? Or have you lost who you are to all of the things you are doing outside of yourself?

Do you sleep well at night?

Are you fit? Do you feel good in your body?

What is your blood pressure?

How is your digestion?

Do you have close loving relationships, or are those around you cowering after you gave your last order?

Do you feel a slave to the needs of those around you?

Do you celebrate your successes, or do you jump into the next task?

Do you feel overwhelmed by all you need to do?

Do you have work-life balance?

When was the last time you laughed?

How often do you smile during the day?

How much do you enjoy what you are doing?

How much of your day, life, and relationships do you miss because you are focused on the project at hand?

How much of your life have you forgotten in a blur of completed tasks?

Are you truly living your life or are you a machine frantically completing one task after another?

Do you feel stuck, constricted, strained, and restricted?

What is your personal cost of doing too much?

Journal about what you are losing in the desire to “have it all.” In your desire to control situations, how are you actually out of control? Are you ready to give up the frantic lifestyle and find peace in just being? What is scary about releasing all the to-do’s on your list?

Why Are You Reluctant to Stop Doing It All?

When the behaviors of a Type A are out of control, we can take responsibility for situations and outcomes, for the feelings and experience or others, and for absolutely everything around us. We think everything is our responsibility, and thus, within our control to affect. We fear if we don’t take care of everything needing to get done, there will be horrible consequences.

The stress coming from being overtaken by our Type-A tendencies, eventually takes a toll on our mood, mental clarity, relationships, work satisfaction, and our health. The goal of this book is to help reduce these negative side effects of being a Type A before they cause major damage in your life, or if you have hit bottom, these tools can help you regroup and regain your life.

fear-198932_150The pride we have in all we accomplish, and all of which we are capable, is the usual reason we give for wanting to remain a Type A. The deeper truth is removing our Type A badge of honor is terrifying. Being Type A gives us purpose, gives our life meaning, keeps us, and those we love safe, and keeps the world spinning on its axis.

We fear if we release our Type A tendencies and don’t take care of everything:

  • Someone will get hurt, possibly us.
  • We will become a destitute and homeless slacker.
  • Things will fall through the cracks and results will be devastating.
  • We will be unloved and attacked for our mistakes.
  • We will lose our jobs, finances, friends, family, and everything we hold dear.
  • The world as we know it will stop functioning.

What are your fears? What do you thing will happen if you stop doing it all?

Katy Warner Stress Relief

Have Your Become a Type A Personality?

The concept of a Type A personality has not been around for long. It was actually identified in the 1950s by two cardiologists, Drs. Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman, who were studying coronary heart disease. They found a link between personality types and heart disease. According to their research, they identified three types of behaviors:

• Type A, which they labeled as competitive, ambitious, impatient, aggressive, and fast-talking;
• Type B, which is more relaxed and non-competitive, and
• Type C, which is hardworking, but becomes apathetic when faced with stress.

Katy Warner Stress ReliefThose considered Type A were more prone to having high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and stress-related illnesses.

According to the Friedman and Rosenman study, Type A’s are defined as:
• Involved in multiple stressful activities tied to deadlines.
• Showing a tendency to rush to finish activities.
• Practicing perfectionism.
• Taking everything too seriously.
• Having an intense sustained determination to achieve one’s personal goals.
• Competing constantly against others and themselves in all situations.
• Having a persistent desire for recognition and advancement.
• Exhibiting mental and physical alertness over a long period of time.
• Unable to easily and clearly express their feelings.

According to Dava Money of the Creative Healing Institute, 50 percent of the United States population is now considered a Type A personality. This is because the Type A personality is a learned, rather than an innate behavior. Our Western society rewards competition, success, a focus on work, and being constructive. Added to this, modern technology provides new ways and new reasons to multitask and always be connected. The result is the desire and belief one must be a superhuman handling everything thrown his or her way. Because of this, most of us, at one time or another, experience Type-A tendencies.

In this technologically fast-paced world, have you become a Type A personality?

Are you experiencing some of the negative tendencies and results of being a Type A person, like:
• Anxiety when you have to wait.
• Stress when your to-do list no longer calms you down, but becomes your tyrannical master.
• Being frantic, overwhelmed, and inexact due to a sense of heightened urgency.
• Being crazed due to clutter in the house or office.
• Feeling powerless to say no to responsibilities even when you become buried in them.
• Insomnia due to uncompleted to-do lists and unread email.
• Exhaustion from unrealistic multitasking.
• Devaluation as your focus on work means you are underpaid for the long hours you work and for what you deliver.
• Work-life imbalance keeps you away from the joy of family and friends, as well as our own needs and self-care.
• Martyrdom from an extreme desire to serve and give to others.
• Frustration by not being able to affect the emotions, actions, and results of others for which you feel responsible.

How many of these tendencies do you now experience? Were you always this way or have these tendencies increased over time?